US, Pakistan must decide whether they’re "real allies": Boehner

Washington, May 11: The United States and Pakistan need to figure out once and for all, the nature of what has often been described as a “complicated” relationship between the two ‘allies’, US House Speaker John Boehner has said.

Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed in a top-secret operation involving a small team of US Special Forces in Pakistan’s Abbottabad city on May 2.

US lawmakers said it defied logic that Bin Laden was able to hide in plain sight without some level of official Pakistani knowledge or complicity.

Speaking in an interview on NBC’s “Today Show,” Boehner noted that “I see an ally” in Pakistan, but added: “I think it’s a moment when we need to look each other in the eye and decide, are we real allies?”

“I don’t think we ought to have questions” about whether or not Pakistan is truly working with the America to achieve its goals. “I see an ally [in Pakistan],” CBS News quoted Boehner, as saying during the interview.

“But clearly there are questions that remain about what they knew or didn’t know about bin Laden being in their country. There are certainly questions about their willingness to pursue some terrorists, but maybe not others,” he pointed out.

Boehner said he did trust them, but added: “But I think it’s a moment when we need to look each other in the eye and decide, are we real allies? Are we going to work together? And if we are, you’re either all in or you’re not in.”

Questions about the strength of the relationship between the US and Pakistan governments have become increasingly fraught in the days since bin Laden’s death, particularly in light of the fact that the al Qaeda leader had been living in a conspicuous mansion in suburban Islamabad for at least five years before he was found, the report said.

Many, including US President Barack Obama, have wondered whether high-level officials in Pakistan were knowingly harbouring the world’ most wanted terrorist, whom the US searched for nearly ten years since 9/11.

But Boehner, like most lawmakers, reiterated Pakistan’s key role in the US mission in Afghanistan, and urged Americans not to minimise the sacrifices of many Pakistanis made in the process.

“Pakistan has been a real asset when it comes to fighting the war on terror. And let’s never forget that Pakistan has lost more troops and more individuals than we have here in America. So they have been an ally. They have been helpful,” said Boehner.

The Ohio Republican has emphasized over the last week that now is “not a time to back away from Pakistan”, and that reducing financial aid to America’s key ally in the war on terror would be “premature.” (ANI)